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(Quasi-OT, Quasi-Political) is "Hockey for Everyone"? (538.com)


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@Mods -- feel free to move this to wherever it belongs.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-nhl-says-hockey-is-for-everyone-black-players-arent-so-sure/

Yeah, I know, I know.  <stereotype="DonCherry">"Where's the article about white players being discriminated against in the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc.?"</stereotype>  <stereotype="SourGrapes">Next time a white player has mayonnaise thrown at him by a rowdy mob of of exclusively non-white fans at the arena, I might ask that as well.</stereotype>

Apparently, not much has changed in 45 years.  I remember hockey school from ages 9-11.  The race-baiting was so bad at the first one that when Jim Schoenfeld and Jerry Korab called me over after morning practise, I thought I was about to die: the other kids told me that the stuff they had been threatened me with would be meted out by Joe Crozier and the players.

I went over with my stick up and told them that if they did what the other kids said they would do, I would try to kill them and would die fighting for my life.  They gave me an angry look, glared at the exit from the rink, and then called over two other players, I think Doug Rombough and Hughie Harris.  Rombough and Harris got Joe Crozier and I think Jim Lorentz and the 4 of them went to the locker room.  Schoenfeld and Korab sat on the ice so that they were below my height.

Korab spoke first.  "We heard them.  Crow is going to give it to them.  We don't believe in that $#!+.  He's going to send a note home with the kids that they will get kicked out and lose their money if this happens again."

Schoenfeld then asked me if this had happened to me before.  I answered that it was normal at school..  Schoenfeld then said, "I know this won't make any sense to you, but if anyone does that to you again, you can always get back at him with three things: his manhood, his woman, or his mother."

I thanked them and then they got up and told me to wait because they had a question.  I conquered my fear as best I could because teachers had turned against me once kids were out of earshot, so I just stood there.  Schoenfeld spoke first this time, "the kids who have been really bad to you -- when they are in front of you in the corner or in front of the net, they tend to lose their balance even if you don't trip them.  What's up?"

"Oh, I have been taking Judo for two years.  I use a choke to cut off the blood to their brains."

They both leaned back in complete surprise.  Then, Korab told me, "Let us take care of them.  You don't have to do that any more."

Joe Crozier and the other 3 players returned at that point.  Joe said to me, "it's not tattling if they break the rules and they threaten you.  Don't believe their crap.  I personally will punish anyone who goes after you."  Korab and Schoenfeld told them about the judo chokes.  Joe Crozier said to me, "and I hate to say this, but don't do that again either."

This was the early-mid 1970's.

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  • Marvin, Sabres Fan changed the title to (Quasi-OT, Quasi-Political) is "Hockey for Everyone"? (538.com)

Thank you for sharing that.

That type of ***** has never been part of the game or sportsmanlike at all.  Slurs against race/sex/gender/orientation/religion isn't gamesmanship, it's being an unsportsmanlike ***** or worse.  We don't want that in the game or in life.  Some of us work to actively take that out of the game, by setting the example, teaching, enforcing codes of conduct, even banning players.

Several times I've played against players that have used slurs on the ice, gotten themselves into penalties and/or fights, and after the game were sportsmanlike enough to come to our locker room or our captain and explain, "Hey, I didn't mean to say that.  I was angry in the moment, but I know that's not ok.  That's not who I am."  And go on to apologize to the player and the team.  It can be a teachable moment.  But there are many players all over the world that face discrimination or worse everyday and never get that apology.

Your coaches were right to curb it, but they can't be everywhere all the time.  We hope that coaches and captains create a culture of inclusion, but it can be an uphill battle against the influences of players, friends, parents, siblings, or even the community.

Some people like to pretend the problem doesn't exist, but as you know from your life experiences, it exists, it needs to be acknowledged, and it takes effort to keep it out of the game.  Know you're not alone in carrying the torch, and know that if you do, others will follow.

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How can it be for everyone when everyone can't afford to play? There is one option for poor kids in the entire Philadelphia area to play hockey. One. Hockey players in this area are almost all suburban and white and there is a big streak of private school elitism in that mix as well.

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44 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

How can it be for everyone when everyone can't afford to play? There is one option for poor kids in the entire Philadelphia area to play hockey. One. Hockey players in this area are almost all suburban and white and there is a big streak of private school elitism in that mix as well.

Don't discredit Asians in some areas too. I went to the LA Kings practice facility which is close to LAX Airport twice and there were leagues there for kids and I was floored how many Asian kids are now playing hockey.

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46 minutes ago, Ruff Around The Edges said:

Don't discredit Asians in some areas too. I went to the LA Kings practice facility which is close to LAX Airport twice and there were leagues there for kids and I was floored how many Asian kids are now playing hockey.

I'm not. I was speaking for Philadelphia specifically. I would bet most of those Asian kids meet the financial threshold I'm talking about. There is a large Asian contingent in figure skating as well and that's another wildly expensive sport.

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26 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

I'm not. I was speaking for Philadelphia specifically. I would bet most of those Asian kids meet the financial threshold I'm talking about. There is a large Asian contingent in figure skating as well and that's another wildly expensive sport.

Got you and I definitely got your original point. I'm glad to see the game branching out to other ethnics. To me its all about availability, affordability and if the game reaches to others either to play in person or on TV. The diversity aspect of things will naturally take a progression as that happens.

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5 minutes ago, PromoTheRobot said:

I often think about how much potential hockey talent there is being missed because entire groups of people are left out of hockey, for whatever reason: access, cost, culture.

We do the same thing by making soccer pay to play in this country. There is no reason we shouldn't be great at that game but we shut talent out all over the place. Baseball is becoming the same way as parents ditch cheap things like little league for travel teams and year round play

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2 hours ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

How can it be for everyone when everyone can't afford to play? There is one option for poor kids in the entire Philadelphia area to play hockey. One. Hockey players in this area are almost all suburban and white and there is a big streak of private school elitism in that mix as well.

Who is supposed to fix that problem?  

Frankly if I had $100k to give to a program to help those in poor areas it wouldn't go to a hockey rink.  It would go towards building out affordable internet access and supplying technology to aid children in their learning.

Hockey falls way down on the list. Hockey is expensive, that's just the way it goes. Someone has to foot the bill. I know a few of the hockey programs in Rochester have subsidized the expense of the league fees, etc. for some kids but they do so when they can and its only for the ice time, not equipment.  If 100 children suddenly showed up there would be no way they could afford to subsidize that many kids.

 

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1 minute ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

We do the same thing by making soccer pay to play in this country. There is no reason we shouldn't be great at that game but we shut talent out all over the place. Baseball is becoming the same way as parents ditch cheap things like little league for travel teams and year round play

Again who is to blame? The people running these "elite" programs that are trying to make a living?  It's a business.  We often joke about how professional sports is a business. Well, so is youth sports. You CAN play certain sports without spending a lot of money.  You might never get anywhere... but you can play it. 

It's hard to fault people whose kids are talented for going to these specialty programs.  The reason?  Because so many people are chasing the professional sports dream or even the college scholarship dream that people are willing to spend insane amounts of money to give their kids the best chance.  Yes, that will leave out those who cannot afford it. 

People send their kids to elite schools for all kinds of things.  Yes, it favors those with money.  What can you do about it?  Are we to stand in the way of business and tell people "That's wrong"?

Just now, Let's Go B-Lo said:

I hate the Flyers but the program Ed Snider set up in Philly to allow kids to basically play competitive Tier 2 hockey for free is great and it's the sort of thing should be copied in every NHL city and hasn't been to my knowledge.

I would agree.  Things like that are great. Perhaps it starts with placing requirements on team owners when they want public money concessions for their stadiums that they are required to operate free to play programs in the city limits where they want their stadium.  Of course that would not aid those in rural America.

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1 minute ago, LTS said:

Again who is to blame? The people running these "elite" programs that are trying to make a living?  It's a business.  We often joke about how professional sports is a business. Well, so is youth sports. You CAN play certain sports without spending a lot of money.  You might never get anywhere... but you can play it. 

It's hard to fault people whose kids are talented for going to these specialty programs.  The reason?  Because so many people are chasing the professional sports dream or even the college scholarship dream that people are willing to spend insane amounts of money to give their kids the best chance.  Yes, that will leave out those who cannot afford it. 

People send their kids to elite schools for all kinds of things.  Yes, it favors those with money.  What can you do about it?  Are we to stand in the way of business and tell people "That's wrong"?

Rinks don't need to be privately owned and hockey doesn't need to be a for profit business model. Plenty of towns have rinks or could afford to build rinks and charge people much less money to play because they just need to break even. If the rink just needs to break even that reduces the need for all these meaningless tournaments that charge teams 2k each to enter and then make people stay in sanctioned hotels etc.

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1 minute ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

Rinks don't need to be privately owned and hockey doesn't need to be a for profit business model. Plenty of towns have rinks or could afford to build rinks and charge people much less money to play because they just need to break even. If the rink just needs to break even that reduces the need for all these meaningless tournaments that charge teams 2k each to enter and then make people stay in sanctioned hotels etc.

Who is going to own the rink?

A town that builds a hockey rink and maintains it does so at the expense of not spending money elsewhere.  If money gets tight in the government the pressure will be to cut the unnecessary programs first.  If the rink has no income and is only breaking even, how long do you think it will last?

Schools cut arts and music before anything else.  Sports would be next but they continue to drive booster support more than any other program but they still get cut.  Even sports have a pecking order right?  Football/Basketball/Soccer are the last to go.

No one makes teams go to tournaments now.  MyHockey operates a business and their business is to offer tournaments and people CHOOSE to go to them and they do so knowing they will have to stay in a sanctioned hotel.  

 

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3 minutes ago, LTS said:

Who is going to own the rink?

A town that builds a hockey rink and maintains it does so at the expense of not spending money elsewhere.  If money gets tight in the government the pressure will be to cut the unnecessary programs first.  If the rink has no income and is only breaking even, how long do you think it will last?

Schools cut arts and music before anything else.  Sports would be next but they continue to drive booster support more than any other program but they still get cut.  Even sports have a pecking order right?  Football/Basketball/Soccer are the last to go.

No one makes teams go to tournaments now.  MyHockey operates a business and their business is to offer tournaments and people CHOOSE to go to them and they do so knowing they will have to stay in a sanctioned hotel.  

 

And if our attitude about is going to be this is only a game for people who can afford to feed the business model than the answer will continue to be no, hockey is not for everyone. 

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In case anyone is curious, this is the nonprofit Ed Snider set up 15 years ago.  A combination of public resources and nonprofit is doing positive things for kids and the game and they've been doing it a long time. This is what youth sports CAN be for people who can't do what I can afford to do. Yeah, it takes people to support it and a big benefactor or two to get it started but it is possible and it is sustainable. 

Www.Sniderhockey.org

 

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1 hour ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

We do the same thing by making soccer pay to play in this country. There is no reason we shouldn't be great at that game but we shut talent out all over the place. Baseball is becoming the same way as parents ditch cheap things like little league for travel teams and year round play

I think the reason is that the best US athletes play other sports, because (i) those other sports are more fun to play and to watch and (ii) those other sports are more likely to give rise to college and pro opportunities.

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16 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I think the reason is that the best US athletes play other sports, because (i) those other sports are more fun to play and to watch and (ii) those other sports are more likely to give rise to college and pro opportunities.

I work at a school with hundreds of young Latino boys and girls who like to play soccer but the only chance they get to play on a team is for our school team. Out of 20 players on our boys team last year I had 4 who played travel. 3 of those were white and none of those 3 were starters on our team.

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The problem with making hockey more accessible is multifaceted to say the least.

For starters there are positives in its present form. For instance the vast majority of hockey players tend to be pretty smart, behave off the ice better than the average player in other leagues, and do still hold onto some tradition. (They haven’t sold out to every political agenda, going trend, or even society’s terrible trend of trying to make everything offensive only in all circumstances like the NBA and NFL are and the MLB teeters on.)

The serious problem with hockey is cost to start the sport and maintain said play. Not only does it cost a lot of money but quite a lot of time. Helping low income families get to play by helping with equipment or league costs would be great however there are problems with that as well. Most notably is that children tend to be rather unpredictable and peer driven. If 8/10th of an inner-city friend group play basketball and 2/10th play hockey who what will continue more than likely?  The money needed to flood a market not only would be high but would likely be very limited in success. How does one compete with a far cheaper and engrained sport?

I can also understand the NHLs noncommittal stance on all of the recommendations the Hockey Diversity Alliance put forth. I will always be against race based quotas for hiring.

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6 minutes ago, thewookie1 said:

8/10th of an inner-city friend group play basketball and 2/10th play hockey who what will continue more than likely? 

2/10 would represent a monumental increase. My son is in his 6th year. We've played teams up and down the east coast. I'm not joking when I say I can count the black players he has faced in six years, that didn't play for Snider hockey, on one hand.

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4 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

2/10 would represent a monumental increase. My son is in his 6th year. We've played teams up and down the east coast. I'm not joking when I say I can count the black players he has faced in six years, that didn't play for Snider hockey, on one hand.

I’d love to know the rate of return on investment. Not the literal money but for every 15 who receive help how many stick around for 2 or more years

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33 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

I work at a school with hundreds of young Latino boys and girls who like to play soccer but the only chance they get to play on a team is for our school team. Out of 20 players on our boys team last year I had 4 who played travel. 3 of those were white and none of those 3 were starters on our team.

I believe it 100%.  Isn't there a town/community little league or something similar for soccer though?  i.e. not travel soccer, and less skilled/competitive, but open to everyone and pretty cheap?

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5 hours ago, thewookie1 said:

I’d love to know the rate of return on investment. Not the literal money but for every 15 who receive help how many stick around for 2 or more years

Well, Snider hockey claims to be working with 3000 kids in some capacity. I know they don't have 3000 current players in travel so that needs to count their lts, after school, and summer programs too. They generally field 1 or two travel teams at every level up through u18. 

I realize that 3k kids in a metro area of 5 million is a drop in the bucket, but it's 3k kids that wouldn't have access at all without that and it's 3k kids who were at least exposed to the game. My kids had the opportunity to try pretty much anything they wanted to try. Hockey, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, swimming, golf, track. The only thing we forbade our kids to do was play football. One of my kids chose to play hockey primarily and dropped lacrosse to run track in the spring. My younger one didn't like hockey or baseball and dropped soccer to swim. 

My point is even if these kids try hockey and find out they don't like it and go to something else that is worthwhile because they'd have never gotten the chance to know otherwise. If I'd never put my youngest in a pool he wouldn't know that he has a passion for swimming. If I didn't let my older one run track he'd never know he was good at it and likes it. I'm certainly not a runner and it's not part of our family culture to do that. He was able to try it and learned he likes it. I certainly wouldn't say that a big slice of either of their peer groups play hockey or swim. They have maybe 45 hockey players total in a 6A sized school (the biggest designation in PA) If they went with their peer group they'd be in lacrosse, football or soccer, in that order. If they followed my passion they'd be baseball players. They were both exposed to new things and liked them and continue to pursue them. That doesn't mean the 3 years my son spent playing lacrosse were a waste. He got to play. He was decent at it. He could have made his high school team but he was able to try something else and liked it better. But he also knows what lacrosse is now and is more likely to let his kids try it someday. That's how you grow a sport and that's why sports like lacrosse are growing and expanding into non traditional lacrosse areas like california. You figure out how to let as many kids as possible try it banking that some of them will like it and stay. The more kids you bring in the better depth of talent you create. By in large hockey sucks at doing this.

 

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5 hours ago, nfreeman said:

I believe it 100%.  Isn't there a town/community little league or something similar for soccer though?  i.e. not travel soccer, and less skilled/competitive, but open to everyone and pretty cheap?

There are some, yes, up to a certain age group. That's part of what I'm saying though. Those cheap leagues use public fields which is what allows them to be cheap. They dont have to spend exorbitant amounts of money on field time and the fields don't operate on a profit motive. Yes the public pays to maintain them through tax money. Hockey very often doesn't have an equivalent system. The rinks are almost always privately owned and have to turn a profit.  WNY has some publicly owned rinks and God bless them for it. Treasure and support those rinks. 

What amazes me sometimes about conversations like this (which I have somewhat often) is the number of people who are fine with dropping 3-5k annually on hockey but who would scream bloody murder about adding $50 to their taxes to have a public rink. IMHO there are plenty of hockey parents who like that it's somewhat exclusive, like that almost all the participants are in their social comfort zone, and are not at all interested in opening up the game to more people. They treat the sport like a gated community.

Does Buffalo have a program like this? Does Harbor Center have something like this? It would obviously be smaller because there aren't 5 million people in WNY but I firmly believe that if there were a way to get more city kids on the ice at young age that they would do it and like it and become future customers and consumers of the sport. Hockey doesn't need the Jr. Sabres. Those kids will all find opportunities. The business model lives those kids and the market will meet that need. They need Ed Snider Foundations. We like to hype Buffalo as a great hockey city. There are tons of kids who live nearly in sight of the arena who will never put on skates and you can't tell me it's because there is no interest.

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